Obama says GOP hindering efforts to help business

The president accuses Republicans of blocking legislation containing tax breaks and other incentives

Published August 17, 2010 8:09PM (EDT)

President Barack Obama is accusing Republicans of thwarting efforts to help small business owners by blocking legislation containing tax breaks and other incentives.

He made the charges, a familiar theme for him, in the midst of a three-day fundraising outing on behalf of besieged Democratic candidates. He was in Seattle to help Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, whose re-election bid is closely watched by Democrats across the nation.

Obama spoke on the day of Washington's primary. Murray is on the ballot and was expected to advance.

The president met with a group of small business owners and told reporters afterward that Congress needs to act on the small business legislation.

He said Republicans "won't even let it go to a vote."

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

SEATTLE (AP) -- Confronting anti-incumbent fervor, President Barack Obama stumped Tuesday for Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, whose re-election bid could be a harbinger for the fate of besieged Senate Democrats.

With Murray at his side, the president was meeting with business owners in the Seattle region who have upbeat stories to tell. He hopes their successes underscore his broader message that the sluggish economy is rebounding thanks to resilience and federal support, although more than 14 million remain out of work.

Aboard Air Force One on the way to Seattle, White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton said Obama believes Democrats "will hold on to both the House and the Senate" despite a stumbling recovery and polls showing vast voter discontent.

Obama timed his visit to coincide with the Washington primary, in which the top two vote-getters for the Senate seat, regardless of their party, will advance to the general election. Vying for her fourth term, Murray is expected to move on, but so is her chief Republican challenger, Dino Rossi, who is mounting a serious campaign in this closely watched race.

Murray's ability to lure federal money to projects in her state has helped her win re-election before, but this year she is fighting against a growing voter distaste for the level of spending and debt adding up in Washington, D.C.

Obama, meanwhile, is choosing more ominous language to describe his vision of the leadership that Republicans would offer should they win control of the House or Senate. He characterizes that prospect as a reckless return to the past.

"They're offering fear and they're offering amnesia," Obama told an elite fundraiser in Los Angeles that generated $1 million for Democratic candidates for Congress. "They are counting on the notion that you won't remember what happened when they were in charge. I think the American people do remember."

Obama will end his day in Columbus, Ohio, pivoting to fundraising events there and in Miami on Wednesday before returning to the White House.

By Ben Feller

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Barack Obama Republican Party U.s. Economy